How do residents across sub-Saharan Africa actually experience living in state housing and what is the significance of such housing in broader terms? These questions motivated a lively conference panel at the 2015 Paris European Conference on African Studies, which resulted in a recent (2017) special issue publication in the South African journal Transformation; edited by Dr Paula Meth alongside Dr Sarah Charlton (Wits University, SA) and Dr Charlotte Lemanksi (Cambridge).

In various African countries, state-subsidized housing is playing a growing role in housing urban residents, but little is known about the lived experiences of such interventions and the socio-political and spatial consequences of state housing for residents and the city more broadly. Using case-based analyses of state housing in Kenya, Angola, South Africa and Mozambique the papers in this recent special issue navigate the contradictory experiences and outcomes of this housing type. An introductory paper foregrounds the issue by exploring the trajectory of state-subsidized housing in the global South.